Houston Mayor Picks New Fire Chief

HOUSTON --

A longtime Arizona firefighter is taking the reins as the new Houston fire chief, Local 2 Investigates reported Tuesday.

The Houston Fire Department's top job is going to Terry Garrison, who spent most of his career as an assistant chief with the Phoenix Fire Department.

Garrison left that position to become fire chief in Oceanside, Calif., and then joined the Daisy Mountain, Ariz., fire department in March, moving into the interim chief's position earlier this month when that town's fire chief died.

Garrison notified his employer that he is accepting the job of Houston fire chief.

Mayor Annise Parker is scheduled to make it official with an announcement at City Hall on Wednesday.

One of Garrison's employees at Daisy Mountain Fire Department, Dave Wilson, said, "We're happy for him, but we're sorry to see him go."

Wilson described Garrison as "smart with fire management and smart with fire tactics."

Garrison was chosen over two candidates within the Houston Fire Department, including the acting fire chief, Rick Flanagan.

Flanagan will be out of town in Chicago for the formal announcement from Parker.

The Houston Fire Department has been without a leader since shortly after Parker took office. The former fire chief, Phil Boriskie, stepped down earlier this year after Parker publicly questioned his handling of a sexual harassment controversy involving two female firefighters.

Boriskie moved into a field level district chief's position within HFD.

Fire department managers have reported in recent months that most future planning was on hold because the top job has been up in the air. One senior manager said no one wanted to implement new policy or start any new projects until they figured out who the next chief would be.

HFD insiders described Flanagan as an able manager with impressive credentials, but they said his longtime tenure during the department's problems of the past couple years likely worked against him.

Reached in Chicago, Flanagan would only say that he is not being named as the new fire chief.

The president of the Houston Professional Firefighters Association, Jeff Caynon, said he had no information about Garrison being named chief.

When Boriskie left the top job, he was earning $148,000 annually. The Mayor's office has not yet revealed the new fire chief's salary.

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